Manchester United have made an extensive catalog of transfer mistakes over the past decade, but I can take comfort in learning that they are not responsible for the worst transfer decision in the Premier League during that time.
Angel Di Maria, Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba just a few examples, that’s without mentioning Alexis Sanchez and his concise discovery of piano playing, but those mistakes weren’t as severe as Chelsea gave Kevin De Bruyne just eight games at the club before selling him to Wolfsburg for £ 18 million. De Bruyne has since mocked Chelsea’s misjudgment.
Chelsea felt that De Bruyne was not good enough, and yet he was among the three best midfielders in the world for most (if not all) of the seven years he spent in Manchester City. United are too familiar with De Bruyne’s quality. He is an architect under Pep Guardiola.
“I decided to leave because I felt I didn’t have a chance to play at the time,” De Bruyne explained last year. “I didn’t see any more opportunities, so the best decision for me was to leave Chelsea and go into a situation where I felt I could start all over again.
“Did I expect it to go like this? Obviously not because it was a low point in my career at the time, but I never doubted my abilities as a footballer. I can’t think what will happen after eight years. It’s beautiful. “
De Bruyne’s career seemed to have taken a step backwards when Chelsea made the decision to sell him, but his move to the Bundesliga was actually his result. That’s a lesson for United and their recruitment this summer.
De Bruyne was thought to have failed, but it was just beginning. Chelsea have never been known for their patience and have regularly sold young players who retain huge potential because of their short-term priorities. That was never United’s way and it’s something the club could take advantage of now – just like City did with De Bruyne in 2015.
Chelsea signed Lukaku for £ 97.5 million last summer, and Tammy Abraham was relocated to Roma to make room for the Belgian. Lukaku has scored 14 goals this season, and Abraham has 25. Lukaku has retreated to a player known to United fans, while Abraham enjoyed an excellent debut season in Serie A. Abraham enjoyed his last laugh in the sun of the Italian capital.
It was another win for the ‘rejected Chelsea’. Abraham plays the best football of his career under Jose Mourinho and has been linked with a move to United. Eric the Hague could do much worse than begin his revolution by signing Abraham.
Abraham is believed to have failed at Chelsea, but that should not diminish enthusiasm for him now. He enjoys a stellar campaign with Roma and sent his team to the Europa League conference finals last week with an astonishing header against Leicester.
That goal meant Abraham became the first English player to score 25 goals in the top five European leagues this season. Abraham’s finish seemingly improves with each passing month in Roma and he simply looks reborn far from Stamford Bridge.
The 24-year-old recently admitted that Mourinho’s ‘vision’ persuaded him to replace London with Rome. Ten Hague will arrive at United with its vision to rebuild United, and Abraham could play a key role in bringing United back to where it should be.
It is believed that Roma have no intention of selling Abraham and that the player is happy to play in Serie A, but it is possible that his return to England, the offer to become the 9th United, could lead him to assess his future.
United is in the market for a center forward and he could be just what they need.
Abraham is clearly more than a rejection of Chelsea.